While most landlords will be aware of the fact, they are required by law to renew the gas safety certificate for their rental properties every 12 months, many won’t give a second thought to whether the gas certificate is dated the same date that the inspection was carried out.
Compliance Officer of The Guild of Property Professionals, Paul Offley, says that a gas certificate that has a different date to when the inspection occurred, even if it is a day later can potentially cause issues and result in a major fine. He notes that the Gas Safety Regulations stipulates that the gas certificate must be issued on or reflect date of the day of the inspection, or it will be considered invalid.
“There has been a case study where a Gas Safety engineer has gone out to a property, completed the necessary checks and found that there were no gas safety issues with the property. The following day, the Gas Safety engineer filled out the gas safety certificate, unfortunately using a particular software that did not allow them to back date the certificate to the day of the inspection. The gas safety certificate was then issued to all parties concerned as required. Fast forward several months later and the tenant has come to the landlord stating that there is an issue gas safety certificate not being valid, simply due to the certificate not reflecting the correct date,” says Offley.
He continues saying that in this instance, while there was no void period in the tenancy and there were no gas safety issues on the property, the gas safety certificate was regarded as being void because it reflected a different date to the inspection date. “So, what was the outcome? It ended up costing the landlord approximately £86,000 in compensation payments to the tenant and legal expenses. So that one day, made a massive difference to the parties involved,” Offley comments.
When it comes to managing properties, this case study highlights the importance of firstly knowing the regulations required to be compliant, as well as having processes in place to ensure that documentation is checked and adheres to the guidance. Offley notes that letting agents who are helping their landlords obtain gas safety certificates should ensure they are checking that the date on the issued certificate matches the date of the inspection.
“With regard to compliance, it is sometimes the small things that are overlooked; however, these things could potentially carry a lot of weight. A robust document checking process will help eliminate some of the potential issues that could arise and avoid a hefty financial penalty,” Offley concludes.